You have /5 articles left.
Sign up for a free account or log in.

The University of Florida is planning to enforce an obscure regulation forbidding protests inside campus buildings during an upcoming Board of Trustees meeting, President Kent Fuchs said in a message Monday. At the meeting, trustees will consider U.S. senator Ben Sasse, a Republican from Nebraska, for the position of the university’s president; he is the sole finalist in the search.

“We have not enforced this policy in recent years because in the rare cases that protesters entered buildings, they were respectful of others and their rights to speak and to hear,” Fuchs wrote in his message.

The decision to enforce the regulation, which was originally established more than two decades ago, according to Fuchs’s message, comes after students interrupted a forum with Sasse during a visit to campus earlier this month. The protests caused the event to end early and forced Sasse’s next forum to go virtual.

Students who protest indoors at the upcoming Board of Trustees meeting on Nov. 1 may be penalized under the university’s Code of Conduct, Fuchs wrote.

In the message, Fuchs asserted the university’s commitment to protecting First Amendment rights for students, faculty and other members of the campus community. “With this commitment comes an obligation to protect the rights of everyone in our community to speak and to hear,” he wrote.